Co-parenting with ADD

I've been checking out this site for the last year +. Finding it is a large part of the reason I was able to remain with my partner after three years of asking him, "What is wrong with you?! Why are you such a jerk, sometimes? Why don't you know how to treat people?!" He'd told me that he'd been diagnosed with ADD when he was younger, but I'd never bothered to do further research about what that meant. I've had friends who have ADD/ADHD and it never affected my life negatively. They just seemed to need to develop some special techniques to manage their study habits in school.

Fast forward to today- we've got an infant and an okay relationship. I love him and definitely feel that we are meant to be in each other's lives in some way. As family and friends. However, I am not committed to our success as a couple. I'm ambivalent about whether or not I want to remain together. It's hard to explain to my partner why he gets negative responses from me (and others) and remain concerned about his feelings when I've got so many of my own that I want to dump over his head.

I've been looking for posts where people talk, specifically, about ways in which parenting with a person with ADD/ADHD has affected their lives and relationships. So far, I have seen my partner do things like hear the baby cry, search for his pacifier for a moment and, not finding it, turn over and go back to sleep, leaving me to deal with baby. He also, because of challenges around recognizing social cues, misses that the baby is getting tired or overwhelmed. He will play (roughly) with him until baby is screaming in his face. Then his response is, "Hey, what's your problem? Why are you being so fussy?"

He's got some stories in his head about the kind of father he wants to be, but his behavior, at times, does not match. He frequently goes out partying and for the end of my pregnancy and the first few months of baby's life, he did not do that. But his birthday just passed and he took it upon himself to decide that that gave him license to go out EVERY WEEKEND in the month. Meanwhile, he's also going to the gym on a daily basis and managing to take 15-20 hours per week for himself.

He's asked me, several times, to help him get organized and I have, to some extent and on certain projects. But I'm firm about the fact that I do not want to play a mommy role for him- reminding him of appointments and agreements that we've made.

I could go on and on, but my story is the same as so many- disorganization and chaos in the home and promises to do better but putting off taking action until I get angry. Keeping items, claiming he's going to use them at some point in the future. I clean up while he's out of the house and he comes home and, within a couple hours, it looks like I was never in the space.

I'm guessing your husband

I'm guessing your husband isn't on medication or in some kind of counseling since you said he was diagnosed as a kid, but you didn't really know much about it beyond that.  So, you need to see if he's open to either or both.  There's probably a good chance he isn't (at least from what I've noticed with ADHDers), but it needs to be made apparent to him how important and helpful they can both be.  

Your husband's actions are not surprising as a new ADHD father.  Expect a lot more of the same.  I have three kids, and I think my husband has gotten up with a baby in the middle of the night twice (both with the youngest - it only took him 16 years to start doing it).  When our first was born, he was constantly finding "good" reasons to be out of the house, doing what he wanted to do, rather than being at home and being part of the new family.  And while my husband did not play with any of my kids too roughly... he went the other direction.  He always thought everything was too rough on them and he treated them very gingerly.  I think both approaches are fairly common to new fathers - men don't tend to get raised in the fine art of parenthood.  Though I doubt the ADHD helps much.

One thing you need to understand, for both the problems with you and your new son, is that ADHD people have a hard time putting themselves in others' shoes.  It's hard for your husband to understand that when he's playing with the baby, the baby will get sick of it.  If your husband is having fun with it, he thinks the baby is too - that's why he's surprised when the baby starts crying.  It's very likely that applies to him going out.  He's increased the fun in his life, so he probably doesn't really notice that that puts a lot more work on your shoulders and you're not having fun.  

Also, words and actions very rarely tell the same story.  He may say he loves you and wants to make things easier on you, but then he ignores you and doesn't help out.  This is very tough for us without ADHD!  I have found, at least with my husband, that the words are usually the truth and the actions are usually not indicative of the truth.  My husband always tells me that it's best to just tell him what to do when it needs to be done.  Granted, that doesn't always work, and every person is different, but he prefers it because otherwise he forgets, procrastinates until he forgets, or doesn't see the urgency in a task and so he doesn't do it.

I would definitely urge you to seek counseling together.  It can really make both of you see things from a different angle.  And with a newborn in the house, you need to get things working better before it affects him negatively.

I love your input on 'putting

I love your input on 'putting themselves in others shoes' and about actions vs. words. Very helpful.

To the original poster, my husband was like this when our daughter was little...didn't seem to care a whole lot about spending time with her or bonding. He wasn't diagnosed with ADHD until this past summer, so I had no clue why..just assumed he was lazy .. and 'just a man'.

My Daddy, whom he admired and respected tremendously, was here one day. My husband was leaving to run to town for a minute. She begged to go, he refsued to let her. This used to really irritate me. My Daddy told me, after he left, "He will regret that someday because the day will come that she won't want to go with him" and I later told him what my Daddy had said. Pretty much from that point on, he started taking her places with him. She's 12 now and they 'run to town' together often. So, for my husband I'm not sure if it was ADHD related or not. I can think back to times when I feel he was extremely inattentive, but then again we've pretty much always spent time together as a family..especially on the weekends. It helps a LOT to get him out of the house, away from the distractions of the TV and video games.